Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Seventeen-year-old succubus Lily Anderson can’t have a normal life: She isn’t allowed a boyfriend, she has no friends, and school is just one mess-up after another.
Lily’s parents send her away to the prestigious Emerson Academy. It doesn’t appear to be any different from the others. That is, until she meets her roommate, Hannah, and a blue-eyed boy named Jake.
Lily makes an almost deadly mistake, and Jake has a mysterious past that has come back to haunt him. Together, they must go on the run from things neither of them understand in order to save the people they love—and each other. But, Jake’s foe is more dangerous than they realized, and it will take the help of friends and family to save the man Lily loves.
She must learn to use her powers for good before it’s too late.
Let me begin by saying that I’m posting this review now because this month Mesmerized is being re-released with an additional 15,000 words. I read the original release ,and since most of the issues I had with the book involved lack of detail and world-building, I am hopeful that the re-released address these. The review below is for the original release. But first, check out the new cover:
I wanted to try a paranormal YA with more adult themes, and the cover, name and blurb were enticing, so I used some of my Christmas book money and ordered this one.
So we meet Lily, who is highly attractive and hates it. This aspect is done very well. The angst of being a succubus, hated by all females and desired by men for all the wrong reasons. Lily’s struggle is well-executed. She meets her new roommate Hannah, an awkward girl who manages to see past her inevitable envy of Lily and be her friend. Hannah was a nice character we didn’t see nearly enough of. I felt the insertion of the cliche Mean Girl Samantha was a bit unnecessary to the plot and didn’t add anything.
Jake is a nice love interest. Not too perfect. At first, his relationship with Lily was sweet, and I liked being in his head and seeing Lily through his eyes. Of course, they end up on the run due to an accident involving Lily’s powers, and it doesn’t take long for them to get down to it. A lot. Which is fine – she’s a succubus, after all, and the rating is mature YA. Plus, there’s real love there and I don’t have a problem with that. It was the constant “our relationship can’t be all about sex” angst, and then not a whole lot of showing of their non-sex relationship, which grated me a bit.
But what really killed the rating for me was the second half of the book. Lily’a problems can be taken care of solely by her mother, like an afterthought, which really took away from the sense of conflict in the story. Jake’s problems are a bit harder to solve, but again, the issue is left to Lily’s parents. I suppose that this might be more realistic and perhaps more moral, since most YA has teenager saving the world while their parents do God-knows-what, but it did make it harder for me to connect to Lily and Jake’s struggle.
So Lily’s mom – powerful succubus, enlists the help of her friend Camille, a powerful witch. Lily looks up to Camille as a powerful woman, but her character is really too mysterious. I’m sure that’s what the author was going for, but it is overdone. I just don’t understand who she is or what her powers really are or what makes her tick. And when Camille simply disposes of an antagonist because “he was too evil to live” it is done more as an afterthought. This is unfortunate. That could have been a serious source of conflict and rumination between the characters, but instead the character is just conveniently killed of so the plot can breeze on into Lily and Jake’s relationship. Lily’s mortal father also helps out, through his super-secret job, that is never remotely explained, though it does conveniently advance the plot. Which would have been fine, if it had been explained.
But my biggest problem was definitely the lack of explanation of Lily and her mother’s powers. The entire plot hinges on what these succubi can do, but it is basically brushed off – Lily never asked much, and her mother never told much. How old is her mother? From where did her mother get her succubus powers? What other supernatural creatures are out there and how do they get along? These issues are never really dealt with and that didn’t work for me.
All in all, I think this book just wasn’t for me. I don’t read straight romance, entirely BECAUSE I need conflict, depth and high stakes to make me care about the characters and feel invested in their relationships. Lily mentions several times how much she likes romance novels, so maybe that is more what this is intended to be. I felt like everything that wasn’t immediately concerned with their relationship was considered afterthought and throwaway. But this made me LESS invested in their relationship, not more. I don’t have a problem with romance AS AN ASPECT, but as I said, I need high stakes and a multi-layered plot and a well-formed paranormal world to back it up. So fans of straight romance will probably like this more than people who need solid paranormal world-building.